Peter Clines
Former Contributor

WRITTEN BY Peter Clines

Zombies of Mass Destruction

ZMD has many great moments in it, but they never gel together because it doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it’s trying to be. Is it a straight zombie flick with some biting social commentary? A comedy? A satire? A demo reel for makeup and special effects? The first big attack, where Frida’s boyfriend gets his face peeled off, is straight out of a classic Romero film, both in style and impact, but a few minutes later she rescues a little girl in a scene that almost feels like it should’ve been in Scary Movie V: Zombie Movie.

Dread

Dread is based on one of novelist/ filmmaker/artist Clive Barker’s very first short stories from The Books of Blood, written over 25 years ago. A lot has happened in the horror genre in those two and a half decades, and that’s part of the reason this adaptation by writer/director Anthony DiBlasi doesn’t go over as well as it could. While some of the ideas in Dread were groundbreaking when Barker wrote his short story, now they’re close to bordering on cliché.

The Wraith (Special Edition)

Despite all this mocking, this should be an easy movie to like. I mean, it's not going to win an Oscar, or even a Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Award, but it has all the ingredients for a fun night with your friends. There's a bunch of very talented actors, a really bad-ass über-car, and enough money in the budget for four or five sizeable explosions. An even passably talented director could carry it past the limitations of the weak story. Then again...having a weak director who also wrote the weak story could actually sink this film like a pair of concrete overshoes. Which is what happens here.

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials

A little over four years ago, sci-fi television took a massive -- some even predicted lethal -- blow. Christopher Eccleston, the man who'd been hired to be the new Doctor Who for the 21st Century rebirth of the world's longest-running sci-fi show, was stepping down after only one year playing the part. Was the new version of the show doomed just months out of the gate? Even worse, Eccleston was being replaced by a relative unknown -- some skinny git with a goofy grin who'd had a bit part in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Really, how was this guy expected to be the new Doctor? There was just no way on Earth he'd be able to replace Christopher Eccleston. No way at all.

(500) Days of Summer

For far too long, we men have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to romance films. They usually get either deep, melodramatic parts or they're just in the film to be the love interest for the female lead. As played by Gordon-Levitt, Tom's an average, believable guy, no more outstanding or sub-par than most of us. He's got a decent job he's not too thrilled with, a lot of dreams he's given up on as time has passed, and he's thrilled to be in love. He's someone we've all known, and someone more than a few of us have been.

Zorro: The Complete First And Second Seasons

A surprising amount of Zorro is what we'd consider modern television. There's some actual drama, large story arcs that stretch out over multiple episodes, sexual innuendoes, and a huge amount of action and violence. Yep, on a pretty regular basis, people get whipped, stabbed, shot in the back -- heck, one guy gets impaled halfway through the first season! On a Disney show aimed at kids! One produced under the watchful eye of Walt himself!

Supernatural: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD Review]

Supernatural suffers from the same problem as a lot of long-running shows these days. There’s just so much backstory to these characters and their world that it’s impossible to feel like you’re not entirely in on all the jokes. It doesn’t help that Supernatural has its own unique mythology and rules. I watched the series for the first two seasons, so I’ve got a basic grasp of it, but it’s hard to believe anyone could come into the show at this point and be able to understand half of what’s going on without devoutly studying the material on these discs.

Adventure Time: The Complete First Season

I know hardcore fans of Adventure Time praise the show for this sort of goofiness and bold anti-storytelling. Here’s an ugly truth, though. This show isn’t so much bold and new as it is a throwback to those good ol’ days of animation you hear old people talk about sometimes (you know, when we bother to listen to them). Adventure Time is a direct descendant of Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, the Pink Panther, and Heckle & Jeckle.

Chuck: The Complete Fifth and Final Season [DVD Review]

Season five of Chuck is well written and well produced, but it’s also an example of why sometimes stories just need to end. When the hero gets the girl, gets the life he always wanted, and even gets a cool billion in the bank as a bonus—that’s a good place to stop, no matter how much we may all want more. And that point was the end of last season.

Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review

The real heart of Chuck has always been the relationships between Chuck and his friends and family. While the main arc this season is the hunt for Frost and Volkoff, just as important is Chuck’s quest for the perfect way to propose to Sarah. It’s part goofball, part touching, and it’s got a resolution that’s so beautifully understated that I challenge anyone to watch it and not get a little misty eyed.

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